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Death By Chocolate Cake Help

Ian says: I have made the following recipe 2 times: Death By Chocolate Cake from cacaoweb.net.

Each time the flavor is perfect but the cake is so dense that it is overwhelming (to the point of not being fun to eat.) But before we blame the recipe, let me share the context.

I prepare one cake in a 9 in straight metal cake pan. Then I prep a second. And bake them both at the same time. I allow to cool on the counter. Then I refrigerate (in the pans) for several hours or overnight.

I remove and combine the two layers with a generous helping of raspberry preserve between and on top and then cover with a chocolate ganache. (its sort of my own version of a Sachre Torte.)

I then put back in the fridge until it is time to serve.

The cake “weighs a ton” and it actually hard to cut.

I understand that one cake is enough and I could slice into two layers, but that seems like it would take too much dexterity and its just easier to make a second cake for the next layer.

So, here is my question…

Ian asks: Is it the recipe? The recipe calls for either baking powder or baking soda (should I use both?)

Baking S.O.S. says: No, too much leavening can cause a bitter taste.  I would recommend using baking powder only.

Ian asks: Is it just a dense cake that I then make overwhelming by making two?

Baking S.O.S. says: Yes, from the recipe, it looks a lot like a flourless chocolate torte (although this recipe uses a scant amount of flour). By nature, a flourless chocolate cake is very dense and delicious, but it is only a single layer cake.

If you want to make a two-layer cake, I would suggest taking the amount of batter you use for one 9-inch cake and dividing it between two 9-inch cake pans, making 2 single layers rather than 2 full cakes.  You will need to bake the cake layers for a shorter period of time since you are using less batter in each pan.

Ian asks: Is it the refrigeration?

Baking S.O.S. says: No, refrigerating the cake for several hours or overnight actually helps to mellow the flavors and improve the texture of the cake.  It is a necessary step in the process.

Ian asks: Am I mixing/handling the ingredients too much? Can this make a cake more dense? Why?

Baking S.O.S. says: I think you may actually need to mix the eggs more than what the recipe calls for. If you beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 8-10 minutes, you will incorporate more air by creating an egg foam.  This, in turn, helps the cake rise more rather than making it so dense.  The recipe does not call for this step, but it will help.  I would beat the eggs alone first, then fold in the other ingredients slowly and gently so as not to deflate the egg foam.

Ian asks: Can you recomend a good recipe for a rich, deep, fudgey, moist devil’s food cake… cause I think that is the texture I want without sacrificing the rich chocolate taste? (I like the idea of combining both cocoa powder and melted chocolate.)

Baking S.O.S. says: My favorite recipe for a true Flourless Chocolate Torte can be found on my blog here.  I also have step-by-step photos of the entire process here.

I adapted this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine many years ago.  I love Cook’s Illustrated because they always test a myriad of ways to make THE best (fill-in-the-blank recipe), and then they give you only the best results: guaranteed to work–and impress!–every time.  I get more compliments on this Flourless Chocolate Torte than almost anything else I make: a sure winner.

Good luck!